1. 1. 12 Answering the Initial Engineering Question

As a last step the initial engineering question has to be answered. In many cases the visualization of the mathematical or physical solution is sufficient to give a correct answer. Some questions, e.g. the detection of thermal breakdown, can be answered by looking at the heating curve. In some cases the answer is not trivial to find or more simulations have to be performed, which makes answering the question cumbersome or even impossible.

In many cases engineering questions seek to find some optimum configurations of devices or methods. In this case, many simulations have to be performed and their results have to be post-processed. From these results further simulations have to be started and an optimization loop is run. After a certain criterion for accuracy is reached, the loop is terminated and the final solution is retrieved.

There is a large variety of optimization processes available which are partly integrated into simulation environments [12] or available as stand-alone optimization framework [13], which can be used for arbitrary underlying simulation tools.

Michael 2008-01-16